The Long And Short Of Breed Lifespans

Posted on: 11 April 2016

When you adopt a puppy, you hope that he will be a cherished member of your family for a lengthy lifespan. Sadly, no dog lives nearly as long as his owners, but some breeds live considerably longer lives than others. If your family is contemplating a new canine addition to your household, be aware of which breeds live the longest, those that live the shortest and what you can do to maximize your dog's lifespan.

Largest in Size, Shortest in Lifespan

If you are drawn to one of the gentle giants, expect to dote on your dog for a short time. Giant canine breeds age more rapidly, and their lives come to a close sooner than those of medium and small breeds. The reasons for their accelerated lives remain unknown, and researchers continue to try to discover the definitive link between size and longevity.

The following breeds live average lifespans of seven to nine years:

Longest Lifespans Come in Smaller Packages

If you prefer a downsized pooch, anticipate spending a number of years together. You are not restricted to a toy breed, however. If you enjoy a friendly tussle or a cuddle session with a life-sized canine version of a teddy bear, a few medium and larger breeds make the grade for respectable lifespans.

The following breeds reap the greatest longevity by living well into their teens:

  • Chihuahua
  • Jack Russell terrier
  • Toy poodle
  • Lagotto Romagnolo
  • Shih Tzu
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Australian shepherd
  • Boykin spaniel
  • Pomeranian
  • Beagle
  • Maltese
  • Dachshund
  • Miniature Schnauzer

You Can Push the Limits

Keep in mind that the average lifespan reported for each dog breed is exactly that. An average lifespan means that some dogs of a given breed will possess an excellent genetic background and may exceed the average, while others may have their lives cut short by unforeseen tragedies, such as being struck by an automobile, or by terminal illness, such as cancer. The following basic care needs will help you to keep your dog as healthy as possible and give him the best chance of a longer life, regardless of size or breed:

  • Follow your veterinarian's recommended schedule of examinations, health screenings and vaccinations.
  • Feed your dog a natural and nutritionally balanced food, and do not allow your dog to become overweight.
  • Maintain your dog's dental health.
  • Provide your dog with daily affection, exercise and mental stimulation through play.
  • Keep your dog on heartworm, flea and tick preventative products.
  • Spay or neuter your dog.
  • Do not allow your dog to wander off of a leash, and be mindful of open doors and gates through which he could escape.

Research Your Breed

Many breeds have genetic predispositions and higher risks for developing various health problems. For example, Doberman pinschers are known for such genetic conditions as wobbler's syndrome and von Willebrand's disease, and they have an elevated risk for bloat. Once you have identified which breed appeals to your and your family, be sure to research that breed thoroughly and talk to your veterinarian so that you are aware of its average lifespan, potential hereditary problems and other health risks that tend to strike that breed at a higher incidence than others. Once armed with this information, you can hold informed conversations with breeders and know which genetic screenings to ask about, empowering you to choose a hardier dog to share your life with for as long as possible.


Keeping Your Pets Healthy

After I started staying home full time instead of working, I realized that my pets weren't as healthy as I thought they were. They basically laid around the house all day, and I started growing increasingly concerned about their well-being. I wanted to know more about their health, so I visited a veterinarian in my area. He gave me a few really good tips on reducing their caloric intake and encouraging exercise. Now, I can say that my dogs are truly healthy and energetic. This blog is all about keeping your pets healthy so that you can continue to enjoy their company.